Pope Francis encouraged global delegates at the 2018 World Economic Forum to promote economic models that create the proper conditions for the human person to thrive.
“The recurring financial instabilities have brought new problems and serious challenges that governments must confront, such as the growth of unemployment, the increase in various forms of poverty, the widening of socio-economic gaps and new forms of slavery, often rooted in situations of conflict, migration and various social problems,” Pope Francis wrote on Jan. 12.
“In this context, it is vital to safeguard the dignity of the human person, in particular by offering to all people real opportunities for integral human development and by implementing economic policies that favor the family,” the Holy Father continued.
Pope Francis’ words were addressed to Professor Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, which is meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland from Jan. 23-26. The theme of the 48th annual meeting is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” — a topic that Pope Francis called “timely.”
According to the forum’s website, the goal of the event is to “rededicate leaders from all walks of life to developing a shared narrative to improve the state of the world.”
At the center of the Pope’s speech was an overarching theme of placing human dignity at the center of global development, despite the barriers of suffering, poverty and injustice.
“Economic models, therefore, are also required to observe an ethic of sustainable and integral development, based on values that place the human person and his or her rights at the center,” he said.
“We cannot remain silent in the face of the suffering of millions of people whose dignity is wounded, nor can we continue to move forward as if the spread of poverty and injustice had no cause,” Pope Francis continued.
The Pope told the leaders gathered at the event that it is a “moral imperative” to create inclusive conditions that benefit the good of society, rather than furthering self-centered individualism.
By rejecting the “throwaway” culture, Pope Francis said, leaders can strive for a better future, by “increasing the quality of productivity, creating new jobs, respecting labor laws, fighting against public and private corruption and promoting social justice, together with the fair and equitable sharing of profits.”
The Holy Father also encouraged “wise discernment” for world leaders, asking them to support authentic values that will foster the prosperity of all.
“I hope, therefore, that this 2018 meeting of the World Economic Forum will allow an open, free, and respectful exchange, and be inspired above all else by the desire to advance the common good,” Pope Francis said.
“Now is the time to take courage and bold steps for our beloved planet. This is the right moment to put into action our responsibility to contribute to the development of humanity.”